Posted: March 23
Pros : this fun biologically themed resource management game From Filament is an excellent educational tool for giving students an idea of how resources influence the growth of living things, exclusively plants in this game, though some principles would be transferrable to animals in a learning/ teaching context and even in a metaphorical sense to business and enterprise. It is also appropriate as a basic starting point for discussing agricultural economics with its currency of seeds gained from successful pollinations used to buy advances in plant care to improve yields on later crops. There are two modes, one is real time Classic mode and the other turn based Strategy mode. Both provide fun educational play at faster or slower paces as the player chooses. It has pleasant horticulturally paced music and appealing graphics which successfully replicate some of the beauty of living growing plants. I am glad to see this kind of game being made because creatures like ourselves learn best when we are having fun. If learning can be made into a game we all benefit and if games teach beneficial things likewise.
Cons: the user interface is perfectly OK and works without any software bugs but in terms of pure gaming technicalities there are minor issues with mouse ergonomics in the Classic real time mode interface which restrict the pace of gameplay and can be frustrating. Even so it is quite possible to achieve the game goals with patience but I will detail the issues for this review. Specifically the info popups and animations for game goal achievements frequently interfere with mouse clicks used to direct gameplay in real time because they are opaque to mouse clicks so they get in the way. Also the mouse pointer graphical tooltips are a little slow to appear creating control lag and they also appear to shift the mouse pointer location marginally or delay its movement under user direction, enough to move it off target making clicking on a target an unnecessarily difficult and delayed process which is unfortunate given that the realtime game is played within fairly tight time constraints. This reduces the fluidity of gameplay which is an important aesthetic for the entertainment market and ultimately reduces the range of its appeal which could otherwise be more extensive as a zen timewaster for frugiform tech enthusiasts. Additional examples, grabbing bees for pollinating is a tricky process because some of the time they appear to be ungrabbable and the effectiveness of making a grab seems unpredictable making it a hit and miss process entirely due to the vicisstudes of the interface. In addition there is no way to prevent the presentation of certain tutorial systems which don't need to be seen twice eg the strategy mode info overlay and the sunflower tutorial mode dialogue, but these can be dismissed so are not showstoppers just minor inconveniences.
With that said I thoroughly enjoyed unlocking my Deluxe Toad Lily achievement and if you enjoy games and plants you cant go wrong at this price so I recommend this game for educational purposes and botanical, horti- and agri- cultural geeks.